The new plaza will be located on the Mall in Downtown Brunswick will honor veterans for their service. Contributed /

BRUNSWICK — On Monday, a small group will gather at the lower end of the Brunswick’s downtown mall for a quiet ceremony marking the beginning of a project that organizers agree is “long overdue.”

The $320,000 Veterans Plaza monument will honor area veterans, living and dead, for their service, no matter when or where they fought. It is scheduled to open to the public on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. 

The design includes 445 engraved granite “honor blocks” honoring specific veterans with their names, branch and dates of service or conflict fought in, but not their rank. 

The plaza is a monument — not a memorial — designed to honor all veterans who have served the United States, regardless of rank, branch, conflict or status. 

The new veterans monument will incorporate the existing downtown monument, which will be rotated 180 degrees, as well as a separately funded purple heart monument. Twelve sentinel posts surrounding the plaza will represent the 12 recognized major American conflicts spanning from the American Revolution through the Global War on Terror.

According to Tom Farrell, organizer and director of the Brunswick Parks and Recrecreation Department, the plaza will be the first of its kind, honoring not just a specific branch of veterans or those who lost their lives, but all who have served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard or Merchant Marines.

He said in an earlier presentation he hopes “people will gravitate toward (the plaza) and have a greater appreciation for what it means to serve.”

“It honors 300 years of veterans who served our country and served every one of us,” David Watson, Commander of American Legion Post 20 and a Brunswick Town Councilor added. 

The sentinels will surround a center medallion with a graphic of an American eagle over the stars and stripes, surrounded by terms selected by local veterans: integrity, courage, respect, loyalty, valor, honor, duty, selfless service and pride. Even the landscaping was chosen with care; the surrounding trees and flowers will all bloom in shades of red and white. 

The plaza was originally slated to be opened for Veterans Day 2019, but after “unforeseen changes” in the construction market, the committee decided to push the date back by a year and increased the fundraising goal of $250,000, which Farrell said earlier was already “aggressive,” to $320,000.

In May, the committee selected Atlantic Landscape Construction of Ellsworth as general contractor for the plaza. Work is expected to be completed by Oct. 31.

Because of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, attendance at the Monday’s groundbreaking event, scheduled for 11 a.m., will be limited. The event will be live streamed on the Brunswick Veteran Plaza Facebook page.

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